Momentary lapse of life

R/C, PC Security, and anything else that interests me at the time…

How much abuse will you take from Micro$oft?

Stolen directly from Linux-Watch

Seriously, how many times must users and businesses be kicked in the face before they buy a clue? Before they realize that they don’t have to stay in the abusive Microsoft relationship. The answer seems to be: an unlimited number of times.

Take, for example, Internet Explorer. In the latest bad news, the newest zero-day flaw in the Internet Explorer implementation of the Vector Markup Language has opened up a gaping wound in Windows. Through that wound, every kind of garbage imaginable — bots, Trojan down-loaders, spyware, rootkits — are pouring into Windows systems.

You think you’re safe because you do all the right things in patching your systems? Think again, this hole exists even in fully-patched version of Windows XP SP2 running IE 6. Right now, this very moment, if you go to the wrong site with IE 6, your system is going to get as sick as a dog and You Can’t Do Anything About It.

Well, actually, there is one thing you could do. You could switch from vermin-ridden Windows to a desktop Linux. For businesses, I recommend SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10. For home users, Ubuntu 6.06, SimplyMEPIS 6.0, Xandros 4, or Freespire are all excellent choices.

Not sure how to do it? No problem. IBM has just published a free 376-page book, the Linux Client Migration Cookbook, on how to jump from Windows to Linux.

OK, so you’re not ready to do that. Fine, then would you do yourself the favor of at least dumping IE and using Firefox instead? Yes, Firefox has security problems, too. But, you know what? They tend to be fixed fast — and there has never, I repeat, never been a significant Firefox-based malware attack of any kind.

Internet Explorer? It takes forever for some problems to be fixed. Worse still, even when Microsoft “fixes” a problem they sometimes can’t get it right the first time, or even the second time. They finally did get it right the third time… but, of course, it was only after that, that the floodwaters of filth came pouring into the hole the folks from Redmond hadn’t patched.

What will it take?

Some Microsoft users swear that they trust Microsoft to get it right. Is that the same kind of right as when Microsoft tried to slip by us the fact that the Zune, their answer to the iPod, won’t play Microsoft’s own PlaysForSure media files?

The only thing I’m sure of about Microsoft is that they believe that there’s a sucker born every minute. So far, it seems that they’re right, as users continue to stand by their shoddy goods, without even seriously considering the competition.

My only hope for most of these poor fools is that Vista’s price tag will make them at least consider an alternative to Windows on their desktops. And, since Microsoft doesn’t have a strangle-hold on the portable music market, buyers will have the good sense to not give Zune a chance to trap their music in a new Microsoft DRM (digital rights management) prison.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

How much abuse will you take from Microsoft?

Final note:

Patch Tuesday is followed by Exploit Wednesday……


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